The school's expectations with attendance are listed below:

  • Children should be in school every day and arrive on time.
  • Reasons for absence should be communicated to the school by 8:45 a.m. on the morning of each day of absence.
  • Attendance that drops below 95% is considered a cause for concern — 95% equates to 10 missed days across a whole school year. Attendance below that level for an academic year will trigger a review process.
  • Please try to make medical appointments (where possible) outside of the school day, take holidays out of school term time, and communicate any reasons for absence clearly with school staff.
  • Excellent attendance at school is important to allow a child to full their potential.

School Hours

In the mornings the school gates open at 8:40 am. The school classrooms open at 8.45am. All children are expected to be in their classroom and ready to learn at 8.45am. The register is taken at 8.50am.

Pupils who arrive between 8.55am and 9.15am must report to the School Office and will be marked as late in the class register. If a child arrives after this time, they lose an attendance mark for the whole morning session and this is classified as unauthorised.

An unauthorised absence is where a child is not in school and the school is not satisfied with the reasons given for the absence. Where a child has arrived at school after 9.15am they will be recorded as a ‘U’ in the register and legally considered as an unauthorised absence. Being punctual is a legal requirement and all children should arrive at school on time.

If a pupil is late due to exceptional circumstances, no action will be taken. If a pupil is frequently late with the same thing or similar explanations, a meeting will be arranged with parents to identify any issues that are causing the pupil to arrive late at school and a parent-school contract may be issued.

In the afternoons, our school gates open at 3:10 pm and children will be safely handed over to parents, designated adults, or the Magpies after-school club. We expect every child to be picked up on time each day. The children will finish each day at 3.15 pm.

If you want your children to be collected by a different adult, or for older children to walk home unaccompanied, please make sure the class teacher is aware. The school uses a safeguarding password system when families need to call on different people to collect their child.

Nursery Timings

In Nursery the gate for the morning session opens at 8.30am, we expect children to be in the Nursery by 8.45am. Any child arriving after 8.45am in the Nursery will be recorded as late in the Nursery register. Our afternoon session will start at 12.30pm. Any child arriving after 12.45pm will be recorded as being late in the Nursery register.

Absence from School During Term Time

While schools are required to consider parental requests for absence from school in term time, it still remains the legal duty of parents to ensure the regular attendance of a child of compulsory school age. Failure to do so could result in the local authority issuing a penalty notice or prosecuting the parents in the magistrates’ court.

DfE guidelines clearly state that absence from school can be taken in exceptional circumstances, and this means that the parent must make a strong case for taking a child out of school in an academic year. Exceptional circumstances must be explained fully to the school who will then consider the request. Any medical appointments/procedures during school time are always authorised but the school does require evidence, such as appointment cards or letters.

Parents should not expect that that the school will automatically agree to an absence from school during term time. All requests are at the discretion of the principal and can only be authorised by the principal or the member of staff with designated authority in the absence of the principal. Absence from school can be taken in exceptional circumstances, and this means that the parent must make a strong case for taking a child out of school in an academic year.

Illness and Appointments

Please call the office before 8:45 a.m. on 01865 373369 or email [email protected] if your child is going to be absent due to illness. If your child has sickness or diarrhoea, the ’48-Hour Rule’ applies. Please ensure that you seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your child’s health.

Any medical appointments/procedures during school time are always authorised but the school does require evidence, such as appointment cards or letters.

What if I’m Late to Collect My Child?

Ring the school office on 01865 373369 or email [email protected] to inform us that you will be late and give a time of your arrival.


If you are going on holiday or have another reason for absence, you need to complete an absence request form, available from reception. Please be aware that you may be issued with a penalty notice of £60 per child, per parent.

Unauthorised Holiday Letter - action explained

Requests for Absence — Key Points for Parents

  • Request for absence during term time will not be authorised.
  • Any requests for the purpose of visiting family, attending family occasions, or celebrations will not be authorised.
  • Parents are at risk of receiving a penalty notice for unauthorised absence. This is a fine of £60 per parent, per child, if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid within 28 days.
  • If a pupil's attendance is below 95% and the request for absence is more than 5 days, parents may be prosecuted.
  • If prosecuted and found guilty, the parent faces a punishment of a fine of up to £2,500 and/or 3 months' imprisonment.
  • Request for absence of 10 days or more may result in pupils being removed from the school register.
  • If a pupil is removed from the school register: A) The pupil cannot return to school and B) Parents will need to register their child with the local authority to apply for a new school place.
  • Application for absence link -WHF - Application for absence.docx.

Understanding types of absence

Every half-day of absence from school has to be classified by the school (not by the parents), as either AUTHORISED or UNAUTHORISED. This is why information about the cause of any absence is always required. At West Kidlington Primary School we would like to have this in writing. We appreciate that sickness happens in families. To prevent illness in school spreading we ask that any child or staff member with diarrhoea or vomiting symptoms stay away from school for 48 hours.

Authorised absences are mornings or afternoons away from school for a good reason like illness, medical/dental appointments which unavoidably fall in school time, emergencies or other unavoidable cause. If this occurs, school will require evidence of the appointment to be able to authorise the absence.

Unauthorised absences are those which the school does not consider reasonable and for which no "leave" has been given. This type of absence can lead to the Local Authority (County Attendance Team) using sanctions and/or legal proceedings. This includes:

  • absences which have never been properly explained
  • Parents/carers keeping children off school unnecessarily
  • day trips and holidays in term time which have not been agreed
  • children who arrive at school too late to get a mark
  • truancy before or during the school day
  • shopping, looking after other children or birthdays
  • excessive illness without medical evidence

Whilst any child may be off school because they are ill, sometimes they can be reluctant to attend school. Any problems with regular attendance are best sorted out between the school, the parents and the child. If your child is reluctant to attend, never cover up their absence or to give in to pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the impression that attendance does not matter and usually make things worse.

You can support your child by:

  • Ensuring regular and early bedtimes
  • Helping with homework
  • Having uniform and equipment prepared the night before
  • Providing a healthy breakfast
  • Reporting any academic or social concerns promptly
  • Retaining open & honest communication with your school
  • Being positive about school (even if your own experience was less than positive)
  • Encouraging your child to invite friends home for play dates